By on December 16, 2014

DISSTongueMedic aid needed

It’s not that Wyomingites are all fat and out of shape. Teton County pulls more than its weight raising the curve for the state’s health outlook, yet a new survey shows we are less healthy than last year.

America’s Health Rankings, released last week by the United Health Foundation, dropped Wyoming from 17th to 25th, overall. The study takes into account numerous statistics including the state’s high rate of deaths attributed to drugs, a high rate of smoking, a lack of health insurance and a dip in state funding of public health.

Wyoming’s biggest challenge is making adequate health care available to residents in rural parts of the Cowboy State. Despite government incentives to health care providers, the report placed Wyoming 45th for its dismal doctor to patient ratio: 90 physicians for every 100,000 people.

The good news is that number has held steady for the last six years, and medical professionals tend to stick around once they move to Wyoming, according to the Wyoming Office of Rural Health.

Wyoming continues to be a dangerous place to work thanks to lax labor laws within the oil and gas industry. And we are still smoking too much, though puffers have declined (23 to 20.6 percent). Most pack-a-dayers are in Hot Springs County, by the way.

PROPSFistbumpUphill battle won

OK, let’s assume the King isn’t going for the good publicity endorsement with their recent policy announcement stating they will implement an uphill skier program in the new year. The idea is a solid one and a shot across the bow at their monster valley rival: JHMR.

Snow King is better suited to the inclusion of uphill skinners and it is exactly the kind of thing the Town Hill needs to be doing in order to stay grassroots. The Uphill Pass, available for $7.50, plus whatever users wish to kick in for the Save the King kitty, is a win-win for the local resort and the hardcore calorie-burners who plan on taking advantage of the right to snub chairlifts in order to get their swerve on.

Hiking the King at sunset. Photo: Robyn Vincent

Hiking the King at sunset. Photo: Robyn Vincent

Dr. Roland Fleck’s highly publicized feud with JHMR in 2011 created awareness for the mad men and women who prefer to earn their turns with sweat equity. It’s a tough call for resort managers who recognize the inherent danger in inviting two-way traffic on ski hills.

Snow King has long been a place where uphill skiers have been tacitly allowed to do their thing – especially after Hill Climb. An official policy makes the King look hip and progressive. Nice job.

PROPSFistbump‘Prugh-dent’ upzone

Developer Greg Prugh is not alone in waiting, waiting, waiting for LDR revisions that might provide some direction in what he can do with his mobile home park in Jackson. His spot zone approval to Urban Residential after Don Frank had a change of heart is a step in the right direction.

Prugh says he will build new rental units at 135 West Kelly Ave. He has always been someone the town has enjoyed working with and he is a local. Bob Lenz’s fear that a precedent may be set in allowing one-off upzoning for every Tom, Dick and Greg that comes along holds little water. If only SOME precedent might be set, developers could get moving with projects – many of which might alleviate our housing crunch.

Greg Prugh Jr. Photo: Google Plus

Greg Prugh Jr. Photo: Google Plus

Tackling each request at a time before sweeping zoning changes have been put into effect is no more harmful than sweeping zoning changes. The public was invited to weigh in on Prugh’s request and the area is an appropriate one for UR zoning.

Pockets of trailer parks in Jackson are going to go away. That’s just a fact. Beginning with individualized upscaling and upzoning, and doing it with a proven local developer is smart growth.

About Jake Nichols

Jake is a work in progress.


  1. Skinner

    December 19, 2014 at 6:55 am

    The idea that the King is doing us a favor by allowing us access to a public forest is a joke, of course. We’ve been hiking and skiing these mountains since before there was a Snow King. In many parts of the World, free unfettered uphill access to ski slopes or side country is a guaranteed right. None needs an armband. Just ask Dr, Fleck.

    A King Ambassador would have been a better idea just like the one on Teton Pass (ol’ Jay).

    The shot across the bow at the JHMR happened a long time ago. The JHMR didn’t care.

    Safety has never been the King’s first priority. Ski resorts can kill all the people they want thanks to state laws that protect them from liability outside of intentional harm. Once they sell you that arm band, they can kill you without worrying about the consequences. It’s like selling you a pass with all those legal disclaimers. That’s the real reason behind the arm band.

    Irresponsible dog owners and the safety hazards related to winch lines or avi work are legitimate concerns but they don’t need a $7.50 arm band to raise awareness or lay down the law. Snow King regularly ignores other hazards and has done little to demonstrate a real concern for safety.

    The King has published uphill travel maps for many years. The King has the legal right to impose restriction and they may need to if the uphill traffic becomes a true safety hazard. Snow King’s uphill policy was working just fine with a few exceptions. Of course, 15 years ago, the bootpack up Exhibition was a lonely place. Even 10 years ago. The difference is that the once-quiet bootpack, or skin, up the King has become way too popular. Just like Teton Pass.

    Some of the traffic is due to the skimo craze. Some of it is due to the closing of High School Hill. Population increases and the high price of skiing also play a part. Of course, the only place to get uphill exercise and great views in town is Snow King since everything else is closed for wildlife, or inaccessible.

    Given that the King is on the pubic dole and most of the resort is using public lands, I don’t feel like they deserve any more of my money if I’m out for a hike. If anything, they should be handing out FREE armbands. If I’m skiing their groomers, a case might be made that a donation is worthy. If I’m on non-groomers, leave me alone. Perhaps the Town should raise the rent on the land at the base which they lease for $1.

  2. Shane Rothman

    December 24, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I will not be donating any money to SKMR, I bought my pass to support the ski area, and I do not support Max-a-Billion Chapman and the plans to fund GM Ryan Stanley’s dream amusement park. I am disgusted by all of their plans, the expansion is even more insulting than the mountain coaster or ropes course, and I know that these stupid activities would not be necessary if they could provide a safe scenic ride with amenities at the summit, where the real money is at(hundreds of thousands of visitors and beers and ice creams, hundreds of weddings, events, etc.). The $8M in “improvements” is likely funded by the sale of their real estate parcels to out of state developers. I would rather donate to the JH Ski&Snowboard Club, which still is trying to raise the final $50k of $1.5M that paid for the snowguns and to budget the Terrain Parks and more. I am tired of SKMR LLC, and I want a Town Hill, and maybe it could be funded by a Teton County Income Tax or perhaps a tax on all of the large new developments planned.

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